Fight Traffic Ticket in ArkansasPage Overview
Usually, you can either plead guilty or no contest and pay your traffic ticket fine or plead not guilty and fight your charges in court.
NOTE: Some citations indicate you must appear in court, regardless of how you plan to plead.
(Plead Guilty or No Contest)
- Pay the fine, possibly online.
- Accumulate driving record points.
- Risk license suspension or revocation.
- See increased auto insurance rates.
Learn more about
Paying Traffic Ticket »
(Plead Not Guilty)
- Appear on or call before your “Plea and Arraignment” date.
- Prepare for your hearing, possibly with legal assistance.
- Gain no penalties if found not guilty (except applicable court/attorney fees).
- Appeal the guilty verdict (if applicable).
Generally, to fight your AR traffic ticket, you:
- Either appear in court on, or contact your court before, the “Plea and Arraignment” date printed on your ticket.
- Enter a not guilty plea.
- Prepare your case, possibly with help from a traffic ticket lawyer.
- Present your case in court.
- Receive your verdict.
Drivers found not guilty aren’t held responsible for their traffic ticket fines or any violation-related penalties; drivers found guilty must take care of all associated ticket fines and penalties.
Pleading Guilty or No Contest
Some drivers feel it’s more convenient to just pay their fines and deal with the penalties―especially if their violations are minor and their driving records won’t suffer terribly from the points.
Learn more about this option, including whether you can pay your fine online, at Paying Your Traffic Ticket.
Avoid Additional Charges
Check your citation for a hearing date. Many courts call this the “Plea and Arraignment” date. You must either―
- Show up in court and enter a not guilty plea, or
- Call your court and enter a not guilty plea
NOTE: The same is true if you’re found guilty and don’t pay your fine, court costs, and other associated surcharges on time.
Determine Where to Plead
The District Court for the area in which you received the ticket is where you’ll enter your not guilty plea. Check your ticket for this information, or refer to Lost AR Traffic Ticket if you’ve misplaced your citation.
You can also check the Arkansas Judiciary District Court's Web page for court contact and website (when applicable) information.
Inform the Court
Most courts allow you to either―
- Appear in court on your “Plea and Arraignment” date, or
- Call your court on or before your “Plea and Arraignment” date
Rescheduling or Postponing Your Hearing
To avoid problems, contact your court as soon as you know you can’t make your hearing date.
Considering hiring a traffic ticket attorney if you:
- Want assistance preparing and presenting your case, including gathering evidence and subpoenaing witnesses.
- Don’t want to speak in court.
- Are open to a plea agreement.
- Are having trouble rescheduling or postponing your hearing.
- Want to appeal a guilty verdict.
NOTE: Some drivers hire attorneys if they’re facing serious charges such as DUI or DWI, any charge involving incarceration, or suspended or revoked driving privileges.
Keep these tips in mind as you prepare for your traffic ticket hearing:
- You’ll have the chance to tell your side of the story. This is called your testimony. Practice it, even if your lawyer is going to speak for you.
- Gather any evidence and subpoena any witnesses that can help your case.
- Talk with an attorney about any plea agreements for which you might be eligible.
You can expect your judge to:
- Listen to testimony from both sides, including witnesses.
- View any evidence presented.
- Give a verdict.
Generally, judges allow time for opening and closing statements, as well as questioning and cross-examination.
A not guilty verdict means you don’t have to pay the traffic ticket fine or deal with any penalties.
A guilty verdict means you’re responsible for all related ticket fines and penalties. You can file an appeal, though.
Filing an Appeal
The judge or court’s clerk will explain how to file an appeal. Your appeal will go to the area’s Circuit Court.
The Office of Driver Services (ODS) sends warning letters to drivers who accumulate too many points on their records.
Still, you should check your driving record after your traffic ticket hearing to make sure:
- You received no points for your not guilty verdict.
- You received only the applicable number of points for your guilty verdict.
Learn more at AR Driving Records.
Often times, a guilty verdict means increased auto insurance rates the next time you renew your policy.
Talk with your agent about this possibility, and if you find out your rates will increase, consider shopping for lower rates now to get a jump on more affordable coverage.Other Topics in This Section